When you stay at the Yavapai Lodge a quarter mile from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, you’ll be experiencing a piece of the park’s history, but you’ll also be actively participating in its future.
The lodge was built in 1958 during the National Park Service’s building boom to prepare for its 50th anniversary. It was part of the so-called Mission 66 program, designed to increase park infrastructure to serve the crowds of post-World War II visitors. The lodge itself is reminiscent of Route 66 motels. Today, all rooms have been upgraded, including air-conditioning in every unit, new this year. If you’re traveling with your furry friend, the lodge also has pet-friendly rooms available.
Nestled in the woods, you’ll see wildlife, such as elk, deer and squirrels on your visit.
“It’s so peaceful here in the woods,” says Yavapai’s lodging director Amy Neil. “There’s something very special about being in the middle of the bustle of the park and still having this sense of solitude.”
The Grand Canyon is a special place, and Yavapai Lodge recognizes that. Staying in the lodge, you’ll feel its commitment to the park’s future. It starts the second you pull in. With plenty of parking, you can leave your car at the lodge for the duration of your stay and take the park’s shuttle to get to all the stops you want to see, lowering your carbon footprint.
You can join Yavapai Lodge and the National Park Service in giving back on the South Rim every Thursday morning to pick up litter, including micro trash, and to learn more about why trash matters. Sign up at www.nps.gov/grca/getinvolved/dnps-litter.htm.
After a day exploring the park, head back to the lodge to relax. Outdoor games like cornhole give you an excuse to connect with other travelers. Stop by the Yavapai Coffee Shop for a scoop of ice cream with flavors like Grand Canyon Caramel Crunch and Moose Tracks.
The lodge’s commitment to sustainability encompasses all aspects of the business, including a couple other concessions it operates. This year, it will divert 65% of its waste from landfills and by 2025, it is committed to becoming zero-waste. As a visitor, you can help reduce unnecessary waste by not requesting straws, napkins and lids and remembering to bring (or purchase on-site) a reusable water bottle. Grand Canyon National Park officials have worked hard to discourage single-use plastic water bottles, helping to eliminate waste. Water filling stations are available throughout the park and Yavapai Lodge.
In the restaurants at Yavapai, 90% of food ingredients are sourced within 190 miles of the Grand Canyon, ensuring the dishes you enjoy are both fresh and sustainable. Its parent company, Delaware North, is committed to reducing water and energy use by 40% by 2025. As a guest, you can help by participating in the linen reuse program (instructions available in guest rooms) and remembering to turn off lights and turn up the temperature on the air-conditioning when leaving the room.
At the end of the day, head to the Yavapai Tavern where you’ll find a beautiful patio, equipped with heaters for chilly nights, a fire pit and a Southwestern-inspired menu from Chef Justin Warnat with a focus on local ingredients and sustainability. Try the Loaded Elk Burger made from elk raised in Colorado and topped with local poblano peppers. Or, go plant-based with the Power Plant Burger. The locally made 100-percent vegan patty packs 16 grams of plant-based protein and is covered with Hatch green chili cheddar cheese and a homemade Southwestern sauce. Wash it down with one of several locally brewed beers on draft.
Yavapai Lodge by the Numbers
Percentage of Grand Canyon’s waste stream comprised of single-use plastic
The percentage of food ingredients sourced within 190 miles
The year the Yavapai Lodge will be at zero waste
The number of shuttle stops accessible from the lodge